SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • ascending tract neurons;
  • cerebellum;
  • feedback;
  • motor control;
  • spinal cord

Abstract

The aim of this study was to identify spinal target cells of spinocerebellar neurons, in particular the ventral spinocerebellar tract (VSCT) neurons, giving off axon collaterals terminating within the lumbosacral enlargement. Axons of spinocerebellar neurons were stimulated within the cerebellum while searching for most direct synaptic actions on intracellularly recorded hindlimb motoneurons and interneurons. In motoneurons the dominating effects were inhibitory [inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) in 67% and excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) in 17% of motoneurons]. Latencies of most IPSPs indicated that they were evoked disynaptically and mutual facilitation between these IPSPs and disynaptic IPSPs evoked by group Ia afferents from antagonist muscles and group Ib and II afferents from synergists indicated that they were relayed by premotor interneurons in reflex pathways from muscle afferents. Monosynaptic EPSPs from the cerebellum were accordingly found in Ia inhibitory interneurons and intermediate zone interneurons with input from group I and II afferents but only oligosynaptic EPSPs in motoneurons. Monosynaptic EPSPs following cerebellar stimulation were also found in some VSCT neurons, indicating coupling between various spinocerebellar neurons. The results are in keeping with the previously demonstrated projections of VSCT neurons to the contralateral ventral horn, showing that VSCT neurons might contribute to motor control at a spinal level. They might thus play a role in modulating spinal activity in advance of any control exerted via the cerebellar loop.